Check out the latest blog post in the road trip adventures of U-Pack customer Miki M. and her grandmother, Regina:
Heading Up the Highway: In the ‘Home’ Stretch!
I keep talking about how relieved I’ve been that U-Pack drove the giant truck with all of my grandmother’s belongings; I mean, it was a huge move, with four ReloCubes. I know I’ve been a tad intense. However, it’s time to multiply that by ten. Cue the Pacific Coast Highway! They say everyone needs to do it at least once in their lifetime. Grandma and I had both driven it before, but about 50 years apart. It was time for us to travel the PCH together: the trip of a lifetime.
The windy, gorgeous road has some, shall we say…steep, scary areas: not a place to drive anything larger than a van (and I wouldn’t even drive a van on it). But with plenty of views and access to fresh seafood, there’s a lot to see, do, and eat. We stopped at the park with the elephant seals. It’s an incredible experience to watch and listen to these amazing animals that often reach around 6,000 pounds. They have the best faces! I can’t help but smile when I look at the pictures and video I took. We also fed some squirrels...by hand. They were the cutest little rodents ever. Overall, the PCH portion of our trip was wonderful. I’m just thankful I didn’t have a lifetime’s worth of belongings in tow for that drive!
From there we continued north, but we had to stop off in Santa Cruz. It’s a beautiful town. Although the boardwalk is world renowned, we didn’t venture over because we had the doggie-doodles with us. We did, however, leave our cares behind to just enjoy the journey. I’m thankful to have had this time to spend with my grandmother, and to my dedicated friends who were kind enough to help lift, travel and move her over 3,000 miles.
Moving from a renter to a homeowner is a big step in life. I still remember the day we signed those papers that allowed us to quit writing checks to a landlord and start writing checks to a mortgage company. It was a big, big day.
One thing I learned very quickly was that owning a home brings with it both rewards and challenges. As a renter you simply make your monthly payment, get insurance on your personal property and let the landlord do the rest. As a homeowner, you’re now responsible for even the smallest details – repair, lawn care, insurance, utilities...everything. While it’s exciting, it’s still a HUGE responsibility. Before you move into the buying phase, I think it’s always a good idea to check out a “should I rent or buy” calculator; Yahoo! Real Estate and Bankrate.com both offer good ones.
Since a lot of people we move are transitioning from being a renter to a homeowner, we hope this information and advice proves helpful – here are some things you can expect from homeownership:
Your mortgage payment almost always includes more than just the actual house payment. You can expect to pay for a down payment, closing costs, interest charges, property taxes, utilities, renovations, maintenance, and homeowners insurance. Normally these can be bundled in with your mortgage payment.
If you don’t pay at least 20% down, you’ll have to pay for it. Most likely, if you don’t have a 20% down payment, your mortgage lender will require private mortgage insurance (PMI), to protect themselves if you default on the loan.
Mortgage interest is almost always tax deductible. While I won’t go into the requirements here, this Investopedia article does a great job of explaining it.
Your payment means equity. This is a “feel good” reminder! The mortgage payment you make each month ultimately goes toward the mortgage balance (at least partially when you consider interest). That means that you’re building equity rather than endless rent payments with no future gain.
Renting may be better if you’re not planning to live in the home long. If you have to sell (let’s say you transfer with your job), the experts say your property would need to appreciate at least 10% to cover the cost of selling. That means you typically need to stay in a home at least three to five years to recoup your costs.
We hope this helps with your big decision! It’s exciting and challenging either way!
Now, whether you decide to buy or rent, U-Pack would love to move you to your new home. Call us today for a free moving quote!
You found a new place and you’re moving into a new apartment. How fun! Now you are wondering, (and hopefully not worrying) about what things you need to buy when moving into the apartment and thinking about compiling a list. Smart move with the list thing, you know I love them! So let’s get started and start thinking about what you might need to buy.
Now there are a couple of things that you’ll want to keep in mind when making your list. One – are you moving a long distance or across town? Some things are okay to move across town, but not okay to move long distances (flammables, perishable food, cleaning supplies, etc.). Two – do you currently have a roommate that isn’t coming with you, or are you getting a new roommate. If you’re leaving a roommate behind, some of the items you’re accustomed to living with may not be coming with you; on the flip side, your new roommate may already have some of the things you think you’ll need.
Here’s a list of things you’ll need:
Notebook – Think about getting a little notebook and keep it handy and write down the things you use often that you don’t own. This way you have a better idea of how to spend your funds on things you actually use versus what you think you need when you move into your new apartment.
Cleaning supplies – No matter how clean the place might look or smell, you always want to clean it yourself so you know it was cleaned and you are not living in someone else’s filth. Yuck. And even if you do decide to be lazy and skip this step, someday, in the not too distant future, you will need to clean the place. If you’re moving long-distance, remember to wait and buy these once you get to your new town. It’s not a good idea to pack cleaning supplies with your household goods – a spill or leak could mean bad news.
Broom – They say it’s bad luck to bring your broom from you old place to your new one. Something about bringing the old dirt from another place into your new beginning. Makes sense. So leave your broom for the next tenant and spring for a new broom. Don’t want any bad juju because of an old broom.
Appliances – Most apartments will come with the basics – oven, stove and refrigerator. But many don’t come with a washer and dryer or microwave. So keep these and other small appliances like a coffee maker, toaster and blender in mind.
Trash bags – People remember these when they are moving out but sometimes forget when they are moving into their new apartment. You need to put all that used packing material somewhere! And then make sure you recycle what you can.
Paper Goods – I’m talking toilet paper, paper towels, plates, napkins, cups and utensils. Make sure there is TP in every bathroom and with the other stuff you can always feed the troops until you find the kitchen box and wash everything. Moving help gets hungry.
Hardware – I’m talking about nails and screws and hangers to put up your pictures and art. Well, and a toolbox if you didn’t own the one at your last place.
Bag of Ice
Food and Snacks
So when moving to your new apartment make a list of things to buy and check it twice and it will make moving-in day a lot easier! I hope you enjoy your new place!
If we’ve forgotten something that you think should be on the list, please leave a comment to help us make the list more complete!
As I sit at my desk, eating a piece of yummy chocolate cake to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday, I notice U-Pack’s most recent infographic: Fun Runs – all about “shaking off some winter weight.” Ahh... back to reality.
I started a “Couch to 5K” training program fall of 2010, and ran my first 5K last spring. Loved it! While I haven’t gotten to the point where I love running, I do love race day. It’s a great activity with friends and family, you get to post fun group pics on Facebook, and, of course, there’s the goody bag and t-shirt.
So take a look at the Infographic I mentioned above. It points out some “wild and wacky” runs across the nation. You’ll see everything from mud runs to hardcore obstacle courses, and Krispy Creme eating to beer drinking.
So, we’d been traveling ‘cross-country on our moving vacation for close to a week. Grandma-ma and I knew her belongings were in safe hands with ABF U-Pack Moving, so we just kept on enjoying our moments worry free. We discovered all sorts of interesting places while intersecting Route 66! We stopped at pretty much every major destination and many of the cheesy tourist traps. However, after all of that excitement, we were ready to stretch out; to just relax. Next stop: Pismo Beach, California!
By the time we arrived, we were absolutely exhausted. The four of us (six if you count the fur balls, and seven if you include the plant that’s been in the family about as long as I have) decided to bunk together. We rented a surprisingly affordable suite that was pretty darn close to the beach, and then we all fell into our various beds, couches and crates.
The next morning we awoke to the fresh sea air. I felt like I was on a tropical vacation! Palm trees stretched to the sky. Happy chatter from beach goers rattled around. I arose early and meandered with Ivy down to the beach. Surfers abounded and some type of youth competition was in full swing. It seemed exotic, but fun. I rushed back to fetch everyone so we could explore the area more. We took a scenic jaunt down the boardwalk and shopped the seaside stores. And then...and then we ate lunch at a fabulous little dive. The fried clams were amazing! The day was brilliant. Grandma-ma definitely got lost in the day as she purchased four souvenir t-shirts and a sweater. I loved seeing her have a good time and embracing the journey. By letting someone else drive the moving truck, the four of us were free to do whatever: meander, swim, dine, roam, shop...and just take in the moving scenic route. And for that, I’m eternally grateful to ABF U-Pack Moving.
The key to an easy move is organization. If you start out organized, it’s more likely that you’ll end organized. And if you’ve ever moved before, you know ending feeling organized is a task in itself!
The best thing you can do before you start the packing process is start early and de-clutter. Don’t move what you don’t need. Trust me; you’ll save energy and money in the long run.
Once you’re organized, get all of the packing supplies you’ll need so they will be handy as you pack: moving boxes, heavy-duty tape, packing paper, moving blankets, permanent markers, colored labels, etc. Now that you’re ready to get started here are a few simple tips to help you learn how to pack so you’ll know where everything goes:
Pack each room individually. Avoid compiling items from multiple rooms into the same boxes; this causes confusion when you go to unpack in your new home.
Pack breakable items into separate boxes, properly marked as fragile. Use plenty of packing paper and padding for these items.
Keep a record of what you pack as you go. If you’re a spreadsheet person, this is for you! Make an inventory so you’ll know what you’ve packed where and what you’ve got left to do.
Use labels. Even go as far as giving each room a specific color and then properly label each box with the room and its contents. When you arrive to your new home, place the color labels on the entrance to each room so you (or your movers) will know where to put the boxes.
Giving yourself plenty of time to pack in an structured manner is the key to a successful move. Start early, and get organized.
It’s Flashback Friday! Each week we revisit a blog topic that our readers find helpful. Today’s flashback: Shipping Furniture Cross Country. This post explains how to ship furniture with U-Pack and offers furniture packing tips. Happy Friday!
Shipping Furniture Cross Country for Less
It's time: you've sold your current home, and found a new one in a new city. Moving day is coming up fast— but how will you ship your furniture across the country (without draining your bank account)? You’ve got a few options: pay more to have full-service movers do it all; pay less and do it all yourself – packing, loading and driving; or still pay less and let professionals do the driving. Of course, I prefer the latter! And U-Pack is the perfect solution.
Here’s how U-Pack ships furniture across the country: A moving trailer or moving container is dropped off at your home. You load it. We drive it to your new home. You unload it. And the price compares to truck rental! Can’t beat that!
If you think a “you pack, we drive” is the ideal service for shipping your furniture cross country, here are a few packing and loading tips to protect your furniture while it’s in transit:
Use proper packing materials. This is especially important for shipping furniture cross country since there’s more opportunity for shifting in transit. Most pieces of furniture aren't designed to fit neatly into standard moving boxes. Use supplies such as furniture pads, Bubble Wrap®, or paper pads to keep each item safe from scratches.
Disassemble bulky items. Make packing and loading easier (and use less space) by breaking down tables, entertainment centers, and desks. Remove chair legs, desk hutches, and shelving when possible, wrapping each piece separately. Remember to place hardware in a storage bag and tape it to the furniture for easier re-assembly after the move.
Keep sofas and mattresses clear of sharp objects. Use a plastic mattress bag to shield from dust or spills, and cover couches with plastic sheeting or moving blankets. Avoid loading mattresses, sofas, or chairs next to items with sharp corners to protect against punctures or tears.
For more information about how U-Pack can help ship your furniture across the country, get a free moving quote or call 800-413-4799!
Since auto shipping isn’t on the list of services U-Pack Moving provides, we’re happy to refer you a nationwide company that can help with moving your car: Auto and Boat Relocation Service. While this service is not related to U-Pack, the positive feedback we’ve gotten from customers who’ve used the service in the past helps us feel comfortable telling you about them. And the ability to get an online quote specific to your auto shipping needs is definitely a plus.
Are you moving household goods too? That’s where U-Pack comes in! We’ll deliver a moving truck or moving container right to your door. You load. We’ll drive it to your new home, and you unload. It’s low-cost and it’s easy.
So, while you’re moving your car across the country with an auto shipper, use U-Pack to move your household goods, and catch a flight, or enjoy a vacation along the way!
We post an awful lot about ways to avoid moving stress, but thankfully moving offers a few enjoyable things as well. One of the most exciting: getting to start over with a fresh palette – you get to decorate your new home exactly the way you like it!
Today we would like to introduce you to Kuhl Kreations: DIY Home Décor Designs, created by one of U-Pack’s very own. Devin Kuhl, one of the super-talented folks on our marketing team (“Kuhl Kreations,” get it?), is all about creating great DIY home décor. In fact, he just created this moving-inspired DIY canvas art that I think you’re going to LOVE!
You love it, right? Now you can make one just like it! Just follow the “how to” instructions below. Feel free to change it up to fit your style. Choose paint colors to match your mood, or to coordinate with the rest of your home, choose a smaller canvas size, etc. The possibilities are endless!
ENTER TO WIN! Here’s the best part – you can actually WIN this DIY canvas art! Here’s how it works:
Go to the U-Pack Facebook fan page and click the “Enter to Win” tab on the left to submit your information and enter the contest.
Check back on Thursday, March 1st to see if you’re the winner.
Good luck everyone!
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own “Home is where the heart is” DIY canvas art:
Canvas (we used 30”x40”)
U.S. or world map (your choice)
White poster board
Hot glue gun and glue
All-purpose glue (or Mod Podge)
Craft paint (assorted, your choice of colors)
Paintbrushes (assorted sizes)
Jute rope or thick thread
Here’s how it’s done:
1) Assemble all of your supplies. Trust us; it’s so much easier to have things ready and waiting than scrambling to find what you need.
2) Squeeze paint color(s) of your choice onto canvas; blend with brush. Here’s where your own creativity comes in: there’s no right or wrong way to paint the canvas. You can make it a single, solid color, or antique it, paint it with a funky design—whatever you like! The choice is yours.
3) While the canvas dries, paint the letters. (You can find these in the papier-mâché section of your local craft store—we picked the larger ones, but the size is up to you!) Paint them using the color of your choice. For an aged, antique-y feel, take a paper towel and rub a little brown paint over the letters once the first layer is dry.
4) Cut out the map and adhere to poster board. We used the U.S. map out of an atlas;however you can use an old road map or print one out at home. Use Mod Podge (or slightly watered-down all-purpose glue) to attach the map to the poster board. Cut the poster board down to the size you want to fit your canvas. Paint Mod Podge on underside of map and place in center of poster board. Paint the edges of the poster board in the color you want.
5) Age the map with paint (optional). If you’re going for the antique look, take a dab of brown paint (add a little water to dilute and make a “wash”) and paint over the map. Allow it to dry. Add a coat of Mod Podge for additional protection.
6) Attach pin and paint cardboard heart. We found the heart in the same place we found the cardboard letters. Stick a flat (nail-head) thumbtack through the center and paint the heart red. Set aside to dry.
7) Attach letters to canvas with hot glue. This step is pretty self explanatory! Just be sure to space the letters out evenly.
8) Stitch letters to canvas. Take a medium-sized needle and thread it with jute rope or thread. You can stitch the letters just like our version, or change it up and stitch your own pattern. Once you’re finished, add a few dabs of hot glue on the thread on the back of the canvas to keep it from coming loose.
9) Repeat with map: adhere with hot glue and stitch to canvas. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with the map; we did a little more stitching here for effect, but again—it’s your call!
10) Paint the remaining words on bottom of canvas. Use a pencil to sketch a guide for yourself before you paint the words on the bottom. A ruler or straight edge comes in very handy here!
11) Pin the heart wherever your home is. You can make extra hearts (perhaps a smaller size) to mark previous homes, or where loved family members or friends live. Military families may want to use a world map and place a heart pin where mom or dad is currently deployed. That’s what makes the completed craft truly one-of-a-kind!
Pretty easy, right? If you’re unsure about any of these steps, just leave a comment – we’re happy to help! Also, don’t forget to enter for your chance to win this awesome DIY home décor!
By the way, you’ll be happy to know that the DIY home décor projects don’t end here... we’ll be posting lots more creative projects in the future; consider subscribing to our blog feed so you won’t miss out. And, if you love what you see, we would love for you to pin, tweet or share this tutorial with your friends!
Since some studies show that organic foods are more beneficial than their conventionally grown counterparts, more and more people are moving to this seemingly healthier style of consumption. And while most communities in the US offer some type of organic or farmer’s markets, there are some locations that are definitely known as “organic cities,” thanks to the abundance of organic markets available in the area.
If you’re moving to a new city, and you’ve made the switch to organic-only consumption, it’s not a bad idea to do some research to determine what the options are in your new community. This U-Pack infographic is a great place to start: Eating Organic -- Cities with the highest percentages of organic food consumers. Based on a one month study, it depicts the areas of the country with the most people who eat organically. Check it out!